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Do You Send Faxes to Clients? Then read on…

Date: 12/16/2005 | Category: Business | Author: Diana Heeb Bivona

In July 2005, another scratch-your-head-type law went into effect. This one, called the Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005 (JFPA) has several surprises for business owners in terms of sending routine faxes to their customers. Here is what you should know.

What is a Junk Fax?
Logically, we would think of a junk fax as an unsolicited fax. However, under JFPA, unsolicited is defined as “any material advertising the commercial availability or quality of any property, goods or services which is transmitted to any person without that person’s prior express invitation or permission, in writing or otherwise.â€?

So, if you were sending out an announcement regarding a new product or service to your customers, it could be considered a junk fax under this new law.

But wait, it gets better…having an “established business relationship (EBR) is now extremely important in terms of marketing your business via fax. You are still allowed to send unsolicited faxes to anyone with whom you maintain an EBR.

An EBR is defined as “a prior or existing relationship formed by a voluntary two-way communication between a person or entity and a residential subscriber with or without an exchange of consideration, on the basis of an inquiry, application, purchase or transaction by the residential subscriber regarding products or services offered by such person or entity, which relationship has not been previously terminated by either party.”

You have to provide an “opt-outâ€? option…fax cover sheets are now to include “opt-outâ€? information regardless if your business has an EBR or not, the first page of every fax solicitation has to tell the receiver how they can “opt-outâ€? of receiving future faxes from your company.

And, we aren’t talking about a simple “opt-outâ€? check box. JFPA has extensive requirements for the “opt-outâ€? notice which include:

• An “opt-outâ€? be “clear and conspicuous and on the first page of the” fax;
• Notice that your failure to comply within the shortest, reasonable amount of time with any opt-out notice sent by a customer will be a violation of the law;
• A “domestic contact telephone and facsimile machine number” for the recipient to transmit any opt-out notice request;
• A “cost-free mechanism” that the recipient can use to send the opt-out notice; and
• Allows the recipient to opt out “at any time on any day of the week”

Noncompliance equals sizeable penalties. The law allows anyone who has illegally received a junk fax to sue for and recover $500 – $1500 or more per violation. Surprisingly, the law allows for class action lawsuits, and even small claims court lawsuits, to be filed.

For more information on the various rules and regulations relating to this law, click here.

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